Wednesday, November 26, 2008

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Giovannino Guareschi
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Giovannino Guareschi (May 1, 1908 - July 22, 1968) was an Italian journalist, cartoonist and humorist whose most famous creation is the priest Don Camillo.
Giovannino Guareschi was born in Fontanelle di Roccabianca, near Parma, Italy, into a middle-class family. In 1926 his family went bankrupt and he could not continue his studies. After unsuccessful studies in the University of Parma and various minor jobs, he started to write for a local newspaper. In 1929 he became editor of the satirical magazine Corriere Emiliano and from 1936 to 1943 he was the chief editor of a similar magazine called Bertoldo.
During World War II, he criticized Benito Mussolini's government. In 1943 he was drafted into the army, which apparently helped him to avoid trouble with the fascist authorities. He ended up as an artillery officer.
When Italy signed the armistice with Allied troops in 1943, he was arrested and imprisoned in prison camps in Poland for three years alongside other Italian soldiers. He later wrote about this time in Diario Clandestino (Clandestine Diary).
After the war, Guareschi returned to Italy and founded a monarchist satirical magazine, Candido. After Italy became a republic, he began to support Democrazia Cristiana. He criticized and satirized the Communists in his magazine, famously drawing a Communist as a man with an extra nostril. When the Communists were soundly defeated in the 1948 Italian elections, Guareschi did not put his pen down but criticized Democrazia Cristiana as well.
In 1954 Guareschi was charged with libel after he had published two facsimile wartime letters from resistance leader and former Prime Minister Alcide De Gasperi requesting the Allies to bomb the outskirts of Rome in order to demoralize German collaborators. The legitimacy of the letters was never established by the court but after a two month trial it found in favour of De Gasperi. Guareschi declined to appeal the verdict and spent 409 days in Parma's San Francesco jail, and another six months on probation at his home.[1]
By 1956 his health had deteriorated and he began to spend time in Switzerland for health reasons. In 1957 he retired from the post of editor of Candido but remained a contributor. In 1968 he suffered a fatal heart attack.
Contents [hide]
1 Some books (see also Don Camillo)
2 Published English translations
3 Notes
4 References
5 External links

Fernandel as Don Camillo
Don Camillo is a fictional Catholic priest and the protagonist in Giovanni Guareschi's gentle tales of a Post War Italian town with the Catholic priest and a Communist mayor locked in rivalry.
Contents [hide]
1 Characterisation
2 Books
3 Adaptations
3.1 Films
3.2 Radio
3.3 Television
4 Bibliography
5 References
6 See also
7 External links

Don Camillo Tarocci (his full name, which he rarely uses) is the hot-headed priest of a small village in the Po river valley in northern Italy, in the early postwar period. He is constantly at odds with the communist mayor Peppone (meaning, roughly, Big Joe, real name Giuseppe Bottazzi, played in the movie by Gino Cervi) and is also on very close terms with the crucifix in his village church. Through the crucifix he hears the voice of Christ. Don Camillo is a big man, tall and strong with hard fists.
The stories' village has been identified with Brescello after the production of movies based on the Guareschi's tales, but in the first story Don Camillo is introduced as the parish priest of Ponteratto.
What Peppone and Camillo have in common is an interest in the well being of the village. They also appear to have been both guerrilla fighters during the war; and while Peppone will make public speeches about how "the reactionaries" ought to be shot, and Don Camillo will preach fire and brimstone against "godless Communists", they actually grudgingly admire each other. Therefore they sometimes end up working together in peculiar circumstances, constantly squabbling, of course. Peppone takes his gang to the church and baptizes his children there (he opposes religion, of course, but you never know...) which makes him part of Don Camillo's flock.
The stories make a sympathetic depiction of Peppone and a number of other Communists, many of whom continue appearing from one story to another. However, there is little doubt that the writer is politically opposed to Communism, and his Communist characters are sympathetic despite, rather than because of, being such[citation needed].
The books are clearly set in a society where the Communist Party and the Church both enjoy a mass grassroots support, a fact which the opposing factions cannot but acknowledge.
The Christ in the crucifix often has much more understanding for the foibles of the people than Don Camillo, and has to constantly but gently reprimand the priest for his impatience. This is a vehicle in the stories which allows conservative institutions to also be chided. Camillo loses his temper on occasion, and is sometimes involved in fist-fights, occasionally using a bench as a club. He is twice reprimanded for his behavior by the Church.
According to Guareschi, priests could break their staffs on his back for Camillo and communists kick him blue for Peppone, but Christ's voice came from his conscience.
Many stories are satirical takes on real-world political divide between Italian Roman Catholic Church and the Italian Communist Party, not to mention other worldly politics. Other tales are tragedies about schism, politically motivated murder and personal vendettas in a small village where everyone knows everyone else, but not everyone necessarily likes everyone else very much.
Sometimes the village is in trouble for the very real world floods of the Po river. Often either Camillo or Peppone tries to get an upper hand, but results may be unexpected, or the village gets a visitor, politician, cardinal or even youngsters from a rival village which usually bring their own problems.
Once Don Camillo visits the Soviet Union pretending to be a comrade. And when the pop culture and motorcycles arrive, Don Camillo has his hands full with the struggle against "decadence", especially when the Christ mainly smiles benevolently on the young rascals. In this later collection, Peppone is the proprietor of several profitable dealerships, riding the "Boom" years of the 60's in Italy. He is no longer quite the committed Communist he once was, but he still does not get on with Don Camillo - at least in public. Don Camillo has his own problems - the Second Vatican Council has worked changes in the Church, and a new assistant priest, who comes to be called Don Chichì, has been foisted upon him to see that the Don Camillo moves with the times. Don Camillo, of course, has other ideas.
The first Don Camillo story appeared in Guareschi's satirical magazine Candido in 1946. There have also been a few novels on a similar character, Don Candido, Archibishop of Trebilie (or Trebiglie). The name of this fictional village is a pun on Trepalle, a real village near Livigno. Trepalle's priest Don Alessandro Parenti was personally known by Giovanni Guareschi.

Mondo Piccolo "Don Camillo" (The Little World of Don Camillo, 1948)
Mondo Piccolo: Don Camillo e il suo gregge (Don Camillo and His Flock, 1953)
Il Compagno Don Camillo (Comrade Don Camillo, 1963)
Don Camillo e i giovani d'oggi (in USA: Don Camillo Meets the Flower Children, 1969, England: Don Camillo Meets Hell's Angels, 1970)
Two additional English-language short story collections:
Don Camillo's Dilemma
Don Camillo and the Devil
In the United Kingdom, the United States of America and possibly other English-speaking territories, the books were translated and published by Victor Gollancz Ltd as the following:
The Little World of Don Camillo (published 1950; translated by Vincenzo Troubridge)
Don Camillo and the Prodigal Son (published 1952; translated by Frances Frenaye)
Don Camillo's Dilemma (published 1954; translated by Frances Frenaye)
Don Camillo and the Devil (published 1957; the only book not translated but written in English by Guareschi himself)
Comrade Don Camillo (published 1964; translated by Frances Frenaye)
Don Camillo Meets Hell's Angels (published 1969)
The first five were compiled into a larger book published in 1980: The World of Don Camillo[1], to coincide with the television adaptation.

A series of black-and-white films were made between 1952 and 1965. These were French-Italian co-productions and simultaneously released in both languages. Don Camillo was played by French actor Fernandel, Peppone by the Italian actor Gino Cervi. The author of the original stories was involved in the scripts and helped select the main actors. In many European countries the films still get re-runs on television fairly regularly.
The Little World of Don Camillo (fr. Le Petit monde de Don Camillo/it. Don Camillo) [1]
The Return of Don Camillo (fr. Le Retour de Don Camillo/it. Il Ritorno di Don Camillo) [2]
Don Camillo's Last Round (fr La Grande Bagarre/it. Don Camillo e l'onorevole Peppone) [3]
Don Camillo: Monsignor (fr Don Camillo Monseigneur/it. Don Camillo monsignore ma non troppo) [4]
Don Camillo in Moscow (fr Don Camillo en Russie/it. Il Compagno Don Camillo) [5]
There is another movie in 1983, directed by Terence Hill, who also starred as Don Camillo. It was an Italian production Colin Blakely performed Peppone, in one of his last roles for cinema.
The world of Don Camillo (it. Don Camillo) [6]

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